A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
We’ve spent the last 18 months focusing on making The Step the best it can be but we are now thinking more about the future of Myddleton Road and how we can all work to make it a better place. We don’t want to look backwards, we are where we are, but we need everyone including the relevant people at Haringey Council to share our enthusiasm for this street and, more importantly, the Bowes Park area to be bullish and belligerent about our future.
The potential for regeneration in this curious little “Bowes Park Triangle” of ours is immense. We have the excellent transport links, the availability of relatively well-priced housing and the enthusiastic spirit of a creative community. Look at the massive success of the Myddleton Road Market and how it brought our own community together and drew scores of new people to the area. This was a reason to be proud and must be capitalised on.
So we must ask ourselves why the heart of Bowes Park is a rundown, ramshackle street crippled with high density, low quality housing and the multitude of anti-social problems this brings? We must ask why illegal and ugly shutters out number open shop fronts at a ratio of five to one? Because this Myddleton Road does not reflect the vast majority of people who live in streets and roads that surround it so difficult questions must be asked of Haringey as to quite how the street has been left to rot and decay like this. We know of several people who have wanted to set up a business in the area but couldn’t find a retail space to let so we must ask why in less than 100 metres we have ten “property” companies whose activities contribute absolutely nothing to the local community?
We are not kidding ourselves that the solutions are easy and we know the historical reasons that led to the decline of Myddleton Road as a shopping street. There are probably many issues that we don’t fully understand but we founded The Step because we believe in Bowes Park and want to put back something in to the community as well as trying to make a living here. Without being too big headed we are bloody proud of what we have achieved so far but we want to make it very clear that if Haringey Council is not serious in backing the future of Bowes Park then we will move elsewhere and we will do this soon.
We didn’t open our business because we looked at the area and saw pound signs to get rich quick. We opened The Step because we saw a huge potential for long term regeneration and improving the quality of life here but nearly two years on, the signs are mixed and confused. On the one hand, the rubbish in the street is getting worse, anti-social behaviour is significantly on the increase and the quality of housing on the street is becoming ever more alarming and absurd. This is spreading to other roads in the area, make no mistake about that.
However…the positive news is that we know there are local people who want to invest in Myddleton Road. We know that there are many local people in Bowes Park both old and new who care deeply about the area. We know from personal experience that there are many people considering moving to the area but the ugly and seemingly unloved High Street is a big drawback for them. We have a brilliant street market, beautiful community garden, the Tin Tabernacle and an outdoor gym. In two years time wouldn’t it be brilliant if that last sentence was a paragraph?
So let’s not use the past as an excuse for passing more and more poor quality, high density housing in the area …let us use the future as a reason for saying no, this will harm the people who live here, your proposals are of no benefit to Bowes Park whatsoever. Let’s all of us work together to get that English Heritage money flowing in to Myddleton Road because if managed correctly it will make a world of difference.
It is also vital we engage with the certain landlords on the street because when we have spoken to them they don’t seem to have any idea of the damage they are doing to the Bowes Park community. They also don’t realise the huge potential of the properties they own…by train, we are twenty minutes from the City of London and the same from Shoreditch, the creative centre of London. Bowes Park could and should be the next big emerging area of our capital but a handful of cynical, short-sighted landlords don’t, or won’t, see this potential and have their foot to the throat of Myddleton Road. This is choking the life out of a whole area.
Do we throw our hands in the air and leave the future of Myddleton Road and, more importantly, the wider community of Bowes Park in the clutches of a handful of landlords who live far away from the boundaries of Haringey. We have put too much into The Step to walk away just yet and over the coming months we will be doing absolutely everything we can to put Myddleton Road and Haringey Council in the media spotlight…its blighted and bungled past and present, as well as its future potential.
Because it is a story worth telling and a street worth fighting for.
Let us know what you think by posting on our discussion on the Bowes and Bounds Forum.
Yours in hope
Nell and Mat
Please don't get nervous we need more people like you who want to set up shop in the area! The more people we have invested in the area the louder we can be!
well said , great care and attention by all the locals ! let the people shout out loud to be heard by the powers that be ... may be mayor Boris Johnson should be contacted ?
he is a great lover of community encouragment !
the sunday market was simply brillant, next gig Bowes Christimas Market !
We moved to the area about 6 months ago and I was struck my the potential for Myddleton Road particularly because we had heard about and visited The Step before we moved. However, I have worried over the months that further progress and change may not come. I suppose what this blog reinforces is that things won't change unless we really want them to and do something about it. The question for me is... what can I do? I would definitely be interested in attending a meeting to see what can be done!
I have lived in this area now for 10 years and I love the sense of community. I came here from Crouch End (too expensive to buy, too up its own posterior to stay) and I know where I would rather be. I have very little time to spare but I would be happy to get involved in some small capacity. Already in my road there is a worrying indication that the (very) small houses are beginning to be converted to multiple occupancy and though we have written to the council it appears there is little we can do.
Well done to those small businesses who are trying to regenerate Myddleton Road. We will all benefit so we all need to support them and make sure they don't move on. There is so much potential in this street and in the area. I will be there on Sunday to see what's happening and if I can help.
The shutters and forbidding empty shops on Myddleton Road certainly put me off the area when I first looked at moving here 6 years ago. However the other advanatges of the area persuaded me to buy a flat here, with the thought that Myddleton Road could only get better, with the help of some intervention from the council.
Harringey Council had a consultation about 3 years ago I think on the design of the street. My view back then was that there obviously was not enough demand in the area for the number of shop units available and the street's future lay in controlled conversion of shops into flats and providing high quality street frontages to these and other properties to replace the shutters.
Cathy Herman (who was also been doing great work for the street) then invited me to get involved in the Myddleton Road Strategy Group where I learnt about the hard work Caroline and a number of other local people, plus the councillors were putting in to trying to combat the problems in the street, including the adverse effects of some of the landlords, cramming people into poor quality conversions and reducing the size of the retail units to uneconomic size with conversions of the rear half of shops.
It seems to me that The Step, the opening of the Polish Deli and the interest shown by other potential shopkeepers has shown that there is now the interest and potential demand for more useful shops and restaurants, less property agencies and less roller shutters. I now think that we should stand firm and not allow any further conversions of retail units to flats, whether authorised or unauthorised, as although the street may never go back to 100% retail usage, there is a great deal of potential.
Further to more shops, undoubtedly the appearance of the street also needs to be improved. The English Heritage grant will make a start in improving a few shopfronts and then somehow we need to improve or remove as many of the depressing shutters as we can. In addition, the council needs to seriously look at the standard of housing accommodation being provided on the street and shut down any that are unfit for habitation.
I am very sad that Caroline has felt she had to resign, but I can understand why after all the hard work she has put in over the years. It is great the Nell & Matt have decided to stand up for the street and the local residents who want the street to be a success and it is encouraging that so many other people have shown an interest. I will certainly continue to try to do my bit to help achieve something better for the road, and together I am sure we can .
As well as all of the above suggestions, I really feel that, sadly, a greater police presence is needed on and around Myddleton Road. At the moment, it doesn't feel like a particularly safe place to be. There really is the skeleton of a friendly and thriving community there, with the lovely people at The Step, Londis and the Red Sea supermarket. I may be wrong but I do get the feeling that some dodgy dealings going on there are not being addressed by the police and / or Council. Much of this is hinted at in the twitter account https://twitter.com/MyddletonRd_N22 There is so much potential, but the place needs a clean sweep. PS: I moved into the area in 1989 and can remember it even having a chemist - I think? Getting old ;)
Thanks you to many of you about my resignation from the Myddleton Road Strategy Group, but I have not resigned from my interest in that road and hopes that good things can happen. I will just try in different ways.
I have put my latest planning information on the other Myddleton Rd discussion forum... it's a pity in some ways that there are two forums about the road..... as perhaps people will miss things.
So may I suggest that you look at my mail on the other one! Sorry - that is where I replied to.
I see that a new cafe has opened last week in Myddleton Road. Extremely cheap so may not last! I paid £1.60 for a pain au chocolate and a double macchiato.
I am a reporter for BBC London 94.9fm and I also live in the area. We will be discussing Myddleton Rd this evening (30/09/13) on our Drivetime programme with Eddie Nestor. Please feel free to call in and give us your opinion on 0207 224 2000 text 01333 start your message with the word 'LONDON' OR email email@example.com.